Five successful test-flights of air-to-air missile Astra from Sept 16-19, over the Bay of Bengal off Odisha coast earlier this year has cleared the path for a bulk order of the missile system with DRDO and along with 50 other public and private organizations which are part of the supply line of the missile system.

According to reports coming in and as per information provided to IAF is close to ink a deal for 200 Astra Mk1 long-range air-to-air missiles with a range of 100 km and equipped with modern guidance and navigation techniques for its Sukhoi-30 MKI platform which has seen successful integration and trials in combat mode.

IAF already has placed orders 50 units of Astra BVR-AAM to be used for testing, trials, and integration into other fighter aircraft in near future and to also to niggle out production issues at early stages. Astra which was equipped with Russian supplied 9B-1103M Agat active radar seeker borrowed from RVV-AE (R-77) was later replaced by Indian made active radar seeker but according to reports coming in due to production constraints order for 200 Astra BVR-AAMs will be split between Agat and Indian Seeker and IAF is ok with the arrangement since both seekers have been tested successfully onboard Astra in last few years and both have performed exceptionally well in trials.

Once production is scaled up, Indian seeker will be used in all future orders of the Astra Missiles with some further improvements in scan and target acquisition range against a 5m² (54ft²) fighter-sized target in a range of over 40km.


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